St Mary’s Youth Club reopened in Creggan this week, providing a new ‘state-of-the-art’ facility befitting the local community.
Approval was granted to demolish the existing youth club and community hall in February 2019.
Since then construction of the new youth club at Fanad Drive has been ongoing, culminating in its grand reopening this week.
SDLP Councillor John Boyle said it is a much-needed and welcome addition to the area.
It will be an upgrade on previous facilities, he explained: “What was there before more or less became redundant and was a site of dereliction.
“I know that people in the area welcome the new facility and all that it brings with it.
“Many people in Creggan and across the city will have fond memories of the old youth club which was there for decades
“But this is state-of-the-art and it’s moving youth provision in Creggan and beyond into the 21st century, and not before time.
“People are very excited about the opening and the fact this facility will be there for them to use well into the future.
“I expect that people are looking forward to making new memories there.”
Due to current Covid restrictions there will be limited usage at present but Cllr Boyle added that the pandemic will pass.
“It’s important to say that coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic it is absolutely vital that there are facilities and activities for young people to engage in so this offers a great opportunity for the youth of Creggan and wider community to get back out, back on their feet again and back to normality.
“It couldn’t actually come at a better time.”
Sinn Féin Councillor for the Moor area Tina Burke welcomed the new facility which has been ‘a long time coming’.
She was in the centre prior to it opening and described the facilities as ‘second to none’.
“It will be a great boost for the young people in the area.
“Youth teams have been working hard throughout the pandemic, especially online, which was brilliant and definitely helped the mental well-being of young people.
“But once they can get back to running at full capacity there will be great opportunities, not just for the youth, but the wider community too.”
In terms of the scale and standard of new facilities, she continued: “It is much bigger, there’s a sports hall which is great, a dance room with big windows and there’s a music room.
“There are a lot of other rooms there and they’re just finalising plans at the moment.
“People are excited about using this facility and it opens up great possibilities for the local community.”
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